Thames Barrage

London Forum Updates

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Profiles on heritage resources in local authorities

Posted on: 21 November 2014 at 14:47:53
English Heritage has published details on this subject for London boroughs here on:-

  • Whether there is a Heritage Champion.

  • Whether there is a Historic Environment Record (and is it online).

  • Whether there is a list of locally important heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets classed as 'at risk'.

  • Number of planning applications, listed building consents and parks and garden consents.

  • Data on Heritage Lottery Fund grants made within the local authority area.

The information in each profile can be used to enable local groups to engage with services in support of local heritage. For example through aiding engagement with local Heritage Champions, or supporting community action on developing or updating the local list of buildings of heritage importance.

Housing Minister: Councils can use NPPF not Local Plan

Posted on: 20 November 2014 at 16:59:06
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has announced that planning authorities do not need to update their Local Plans because decisions on planning applications can be made on the basis of the policies in the NPPF.   See the details and comments here.
This latest madness by DCLG means that London’s boroughs would not need to update their Local Plans to conform to the NPPF and the latest version of the London Plan. Communities want boroughs to devise policies and Development Plan Documents which define what should be developed and where and for what purpose, to spatially address the NPPF, London Plan and Opportunity Area Planning Framework policies for local development to be sustainable. Without that happening, it would be difficult to prevent harmful changes.
Some London boroughs have not achieved an approved plan in the last ten years, since they were instructed then by Government to do so before September 2007. Will some local authorities in the country now give up planning and rely on national policy and guidance, which has little to do with places?
Decisions on planning applications made just on the basis of the NPPF content may give some developers the opportunity to build what they like for maximum profit, rather than deliver what local authorities need.
Brandon Lewis does not seem to have mentioned the London Plan which should form the basis of the core strategy for every borough and is part of the development plan for decision making, together with the Local Plan and the NPPF.
The Government’s statement that if a Local Plan is out of date, the default answer to a planning application is ‘Yes’ has not been withdrawn. This leaves confusion about development control.
The earlier interference by Government in local decision making by relaxation of planning controls has been serious, as described in the links within the 'Adverse effects of permitted development of offices' item on the next page. There are other papers on that subject here and here and here and here.
It is important that community groups keep up the pressure on their MP and any Members of the House of Lords and Ministers that they know, for Government to stop dictating how development decisions will be made locally. Recent changes and proposals by Government mean that the Localism Act was largely meaningless.

Greg Barker to chair Sustainable Development Commission

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:49:36
Boris Johnson has announced here that he has appointed Greg Barker, MP, as new Chairman of his London Sustainable Development Commission, and tasked him with helping the capital meet the environmental challenges posed by a population that is set to increase by 37 per cent to more than 11 million people by 2050.
London Forum expects that there should now be more focus on sustainable urban drainage, on addressing traffic congestion and air pollution and ensuring the required infrastructure is delivered. It is expected also that the Mayor's Infrastructure Delivery Board will take input from civic and amenity societies.

Housebuilding initiative on National Grid land

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:41:02
A new partnership that is expected to create 14,000 new homes across London and the South East has been welcomed by Boris Johnson. National Grid and Berkeley Group have established a joint venture to develop major residential and mixed-use development schemes. Known as St William Homes LLP, the initiative brings together access to a significant portfolio of brownfield land owned by National Grid Property in key areas of housing need.
See more details here.

Can London build enough homes for 9m people? and Where?

Posted on: 5 November 2014 at 23:25:08
An article @CityAM points to a report by residential and commercial estate agent Stirling Ackroyd with a map of wards which are likely to have high, medium or low house building. The Outer London boroughs may need to increase densification to respond to the demand.

Will devolution to London happen?

Posted on: 5 November 2014 at 22:53:41
London Mayor Boris Johnson has admitted he has struggled to convince the Government that control of taxes like stamp duty should be devolved to City Hall as recently to Manchester - see  and as discussed at .

BBC London political editor Tim Donovan spoke to Mr Johnson, Minister for Cities, Greg Clark, and Mark Boleat, Corporation of London.
It seems that London is being asked to demonstrate what it would do with retained taxes and what return to the Treasury there would be before more devolution is likely.

Why Invest in Landscape?

Posted on: 5 November 2014 at 22:39:29
Further to the speech by Communities Minister Stephen Williams below, the Landscape Institute has published a report on investing in landscape here for:-

  • Creating spaces that users can connect with both physically and emotionally – leading to benefits for local businesses such as increased footfall and time spent.

  • Focussing attention on the value of the built and natural environment in the regeneration process.

  • Delivering reduced development costs through the intelligent use of existing landscape features and the imaginative disposal/incorporation of construction waste.

  • Realising increased saleability and rentability of both private housing and commercial property.

  • Optimising the full development potential of a given location.

CIL may be harming progress on developments

Posted on: 31 October 2014 at 20:44:26
Local authorities with a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule in place have seen a 49 per cent drop in the number of new residential planning consents granted in the 12 months following the introduction of the development tarfiff, according to a report by Savills.

Updated CABE-EH Guidance on Tall Buildings

Posted on: 31 October 2014 at 17:19:31
The latest version of the guidance for decision making about tall buildings can be seen here.

City Growth Commission calls for more powers for London

Posted on: 29 October 2014 at 22:02:08
London Councils Chair Mayor Jules Pipe has welcomed the findings of the RSA City Growth Commission that devolution away from Whitehall is an essential condition for strengthening national economic growth. The Commission’s report, launched last week and in full here calls for London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire to be given Devolved Status with a package of powers to be agreed between these city-regions with the government by January 2015. Urging the government to respond positively, Mayor Pipe said: "The report supports the call of London local government – the boroughs  and the Mayor – for devolution of services such as skills and employment support."

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